Press Pass Lefty Duval and US Women

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Press PassEach week, Golf Channel experts and analysts will offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf. This week, the Press Pass takes you to the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and the Women's World Cup of Golf.

Hot Topic
Will Phil Mickelson win a major this year?

Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Senior Writer, GolfChannel.com:
If he does, it will be the Masters where his record in the last eight years is off the charts good (two wins, three thirds, a sixth, a seventh and a 10th). But if Tiger Woods gets to Augusta with his current winning streak intact, forget it. There will be no stopping him.

Kelly Tilghman Kelly Tilghman - Live Tournament Host, Golf Channel:
It's hard to say because I haven't seen him hit a shot since the Ryder Cup.. I think the Masters is his best chance, but Tiger will be a real problem for him.

Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer, GolfChannel.com:
Probably not. If Tiger plays like he did last year, then he should win at least two majors. That leaves only two -- maybe just one -- for the rest of the bunch. It's not so much that I don't believe in Phil as it is that I have a great deal of faith in Tiger.

Kraig Kann Kraig Kann - Host, Golf Channel:
I would have thought his best chance was Augusta, but given Tiger's ambush on trophy ceremonies of late, at this point I have a hard time picking against Woods. A 'Tiger Slam' would come at Oakmont in the U.S. Open, which would be redemption for a missed cut last year. Phil's too good to not get one. So, YES but it won't be Augusta. I say Carnoustie at the British or Southern Hills for the PGA.

Hot Topic
David Duval, who is making his first start of the year, is using a one-time career money exemption to compete on the PGA TOUR in 2007. Will he finish in the top 125 on the money list?

Hewitt:
Duval improved from 260th on the money list in 2005 to 172nd last year. If he stays healthy, we will see him back in the top 125 in 2007. The jury is still out on whether we will ever see him back in the top 30 again.

Tilghman:
I think so because he showed signs of improvement last year. I still believe he has some fire in him.

Baggs:
I'm going to say yes. If he plays a little bit better than he did last year, he can slip in a top-10 or two -- particularly if he decides to play late in the year. If he really wants to keep his card, he'll play a few tournaments after the TOUR Championship.

Kann:
Tuesday, I heard two arguments against him doing it. But I've always believed he'd come back. So, YES again. This is Duval's year to rebound from the free-fall. All he needs is four decent finishes or one really good week. Call me crazy but I'm thinking beyond the money list to a surprise return to the winner's circle. When he does it, there will be a ton of players there to celebrate.

Hot Topic
If you were holding a golf tournament, who would you want to be the celebrity host?

Hewitt:
Tiger Woods. Second choice: Bill Gates (money). Third choice: George Lopez (funny).

Tilghman:
I would take Will Ferrell in a heartbeat, but I prefer him in the character of 'Ron Burgundy: Anchorman.'

Baggs:
Charles Barkley. He loves golf, is entertaining and could produce some top-name celebrities. Also, if he has to play the role of tournament host, then maybe it will keep him off the course.

Kann:
Chris Rock. A little first-tee 'stand-up' could make things interesting. Although he'd have to tone it down a bit. Can I get two? Then bring in Sandra Bullock.

Hot Topic
The Womens World Cup is this week. Who are the two best female American players (Juli Inkster and Pat Hurst are representing the U.S.)?

Hewitt:
I think the two best U.S. women at the moment are Cristie Kerr and Inkster. The best American player at the moment is Lorena Ochoa. (Last time I checked, Mexico was still in the Americas.)

Tilghman:
I like Juli Inkster and Cristie Kerr for obvious reasons. Both are gritty competitors. But don't sleep on Juli and Pat Hurst. They're both U.S. Amateur champions. They'll be strong in matchplay.

Baggs:
There should be a vast selection of players to choose from, but there are really just two who stand out: Cristie Kerr and Juli Inkster. Paula Creamer had a dismal season in 2006, and Morgan Pressel hasn't yet developed into a top-notch talent on the LPGA. Who knows about Michelle Wie. We'll have to wait and see how she fares when she plays again with the ladies.

Kann:
Could be the best question of the bunch. When Michelle Wie's with her peers, she warrants strong consideration. Her LPGA major record is incredible without winning. But given her play of late, I sit her down and consider Cristie Kerr, Juli Inkster and Paula Creamer. Forget the world rankings, I'm going with Kerr and Creamer. One of them will win a major this year. Maybe both.

Related Links:

  • Full Coverage - Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
  • Full Coverage - Women's World Cup of Golf